Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tortoise @ Pitchfork

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Posted by shore On July - 18 - 2009

tortoisepitchfork@AndyShore I had only heard good things about Tortoise leading up to Pitchfork. I have several musician friends who raved about the band. I knew them as a progressive rock band, with complex songs. We arrived at Pitchfork slightly late due to some confusion with Green Line stops on the El (Seriously, city planner, who makes two Ashland stops?). As a result, I missed out on shooting Tortoise. Instead, I settled into the crowd with @andlaurasays to see what the hype was about.

 

My assessment? Tortoise is not a band that can be fully appreciated at a festival. Looking around, I couldn’t tell if people weren’t enjoying themselves, or if it was just a hipster thing to stand perfectly still and stare at the stage. They are a band that is very hard to fully appreciate on the surface. Just given a once over, the music is slow and without any major climax to any song. With the ambient noises of a music festival, it is hard to listen any deeper.

 

It would take a trained music ear to know what makes Tortoise so special. Their songs are so complex and multi-layered, it would take a listen through with headphones to fully process the music. I would rather see them in at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall instead of at a music festival. There I could sit down and completely digest the beautifully orchestrated music that Tortoise offers.

 

Speaking with fellow photographer, Joel Berk, after their set, we discussed why Tortoise was his favorite band. He explained he loved them because they never played the same thing, the same way twice through a song. With the band members rotating around on their instruments, sometimes with two drummers, I could see what he meant. I just wish my ADD would have allowed me to enjoy Tortoise more at Pitchfork.

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